Star Pubs & Bars is boosting the support it gives to licensees with a new buying department focused on securing great products and prices as well as sharing market insight and delivering category training.
The team of nine will include category experts in soft drinks, wine and spirits as well as machines, beer and ale and is expected to be fully operational by March.
One of the first equipment deals it has done is a three-year fixed price agreement on coffee machines with supplier UCC.
The department will focus on delivering competitive advantage to licensees and increasing their profits and sales. It will work to procure keen prices, high levels of service and access to new products for licensees.
In addition, buyers will use their expertise and knowledge to keep Star licensees abreast of the latest developments and trends in their sectors and provide best practice on retailing products to maximise sales.
Agreements will be managed to ensure suppliers deliver consistent standards and will be transparent with savings passed onto licensees.
The department’s first supplier agreement goes live this month with a new deal on coffee for Star’s increased estate of 2,900 pubs.
Star is partnering with UCC – suppliers to Waitrose, McDonalds and Greggs – for bean to cup and traditional coffee – and with hospitality specialists K-Fee for capsule coffee to ensure all pubs have a solution suitable for their business.
As well as coffee, the deal includes sales building advice and a three-year fixed price agreement covering machines, installation, training, servicing and repairs.
Star Pubs buying director Steve Dancer, who joined Star in April last year following positions with Greene King and ASDA, says: “The department has a wide remit and will work closely with other areas of the business from training to marketing to help licensees create great pubs with retail offers that continue to meet customers’ ever changing needs.
“The pub and casual dining markets are increasingly competitive. Consolidation means growing numbers of managed operators are using their scale to improve their offers. For Star, putting greater emphasis on category buying isn’t just about negotiating good prices. It’s about highlighting trends and enabling licensees to take advantage of them quickly in order to stay ahead of their competitors.”